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Keywords:

  • access;
  • capacity building;
  • early intervention;
  • service development;
  • youth mental health

Abstract

Aim:

Despite recognition of the early onset and disease burden of mental and substance use disorders in young people, poor access to services persists. A new youth outreach clinic, with principles consistent with the early intervention paradigm and intake criteria not linked to presumptive diagnostic status, was set up within an existing youth hub. The service development and early service delivery are described.

Methods:

The particulars of the clinic, including location, service recipients and service delivery structure, were conceptualized and implemented. A service model based on secondary and primary consultations and up to six sessions of treatment was adopted to maximize the number of referrers and clients the clinic could service.

Results:

Twenty referrals were received by the clinic in the first 2 months. The clients' ages ranged from 14 to 21 with just less than half under 18 years of age. Clients had complex mixes of symptomatology that fulfilled multiple diagnoses.

Conclusions:

The described model of service delivery can help improve accessibility, fulfil gaps in current youth mental health delivery, and build the capacity of non-tertiary level services. This is consistent with the early intervention paradigm.